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Wilson farmhouse

Tribune file photo

The group’s online survey asks people whether they support a community centre use of the farmhouse and what sort of programs and services they’d like it to offer.

Farmhouse backers appeal to neighbours

With the deadline approaching for responses to the city’s call for proposals for reuse of the Wilson farmhouse, a group that is pushing one concept is seeking feedback from area neighbours.
The group, whose concept involves using the farmhouse partly as a “green living showroom,” has organized an online survey. It has also organized a workshop meeting of residents today (March 6) at 7 p.m. at Guelph Lake Commons.
The group hand-delivered 650 postcards last weekend to residents living near the north end’s Wilson Farm Park, where the historic farmhouse is located. The postcards outlined the group’s proposal, notified people of tonight’s meeting and referred them to an online survey that will close on March 14.
The city has set a March 20 deadline for responses to its call for Expressions of Interest for uses for the Wilson farmhouse.
The postcard says a team of “experienced social entrepreneurs” is proposing a community-based reuse of the farmhouse. It would be turned into a community centre and social hub that would include a green living showroom, the group says.
Its proposal calls for the city to retain ownership of the property and lease it to a non-profit board, which would obtain financing to renovate the building. The enterprise would generate revenue by “running a neighbourhood concession; renting out program space – including reduced-rate community kitchens and meeting rooms; and offering valuable green services, including a green home demonstration area,” the postcard says.
The group’s online survey asks people whether they support a community centre use of the farmhouse and what sort of programs and services they’d like it to offer. It also asks people’s opinions on how such a facility could best integrate with Wilson Farm Park, with the recreational trail system and with the neighbourhood.
Many neighbours oppose the idea, and it’s been suggested the south end’s Crawley farmhouse would be a better fit for such a facility.
However, a city staff memo posted on Coun. Ian Findlay’s Ward 2 blog points out that the Crawley farmhouse is privately owned. The owner of the Crawley farmhouse has signed an agreement with the city to conserve the farmhouse in its current location or move it to an appropriate location in the Hanlon-Maltby Road area, the memo says.
The city owns the Wilson farmhouse on Simmonds Drive in Ward 2. It was deeded to the city in 2005 as part of development of a new subdivision north of Woodlawn Road.

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